Colonization in Avatar

December 21, 2009


Tonight I agreed to go with some people to Avatar in 3D. Before going to see the movie, I was pretty unaware of what it was about. I had passed over much of the press that was surrounding the film, blissfully unaware of everything dealing with other than that it was a movie James Cameron had been working on for nearly a decade, it was primarily CGI, and it was science fiction. Now, I am loathe to pass up a scifi movie (I have sat through both Jumper–painfully terrible–and D War: Dragon Wars–so bad it is hilarious–on opening weekend), so it took little coaxing to get me to go.

Preface aside: the movie was beautiful. The CGI was stunning. The scifi environment was beyond belief (which is a good thing). The storyline was wonderful; its plot was somewhere between Ferngully and Starship Troopers. And, if this were strictly a movie review I would give it 4 ½ out of 5 stars. But this is more than that; this is a critical analysis of the social issues at play within the film. This analysis will appear after the jump, and I warn you that there are spoilers, I will try to keep them to a minimum but in discussing a movie it is difficult to forego a focus upon its plot. So, here goes: Read the rest of this entry »

Twenty-First Century Genocide? It Could Happen in Uganda

December 14, 2009

I wasn’t originally planning on writing anything this week, as it’s finals week here at the University of Northern Iowa, however, I then read the scariest piece of news I’ve read in a long time.

In Uganda, there is a proposed law which would call for the execution of all homosexuals and AIDS patients. Citizens would also be imprisoned for knowing, but not reporting, homosexuals or defending gay rights in public. Further, the proposed law would be “an extraditable offense; any Ugandan even suspected of being gay could be extradited back to Uganda and punished” (Huffington Post).

Over the past month, many human rights organizations and fellow nations have spoken out against the bill, stating that it even discussing it makes a mockery of all the work that has been done in Uganda to gain human rights. Unfortunately, “it’s unlikely that pressure from other countries, even those providing development dollars, will make substantial impact on the law thus far. The bill’s author, David Bahati, of the ruling National Resistance Movement party, has been quoted as saying, ‘We cannot exchange our dignity for money'”(Huffington Post).

The fact that this kind of hate exists makes me so sad. It’s terrifying.

What can we do to help?

I’m not sure. I’m trying to start by spreading the message, and letting people know what’s going on. So please, post this article to your blog or facebook or twitter or email it out to family and friends.

Hate still exists. Discrimination still exists. Genocide could happen.

We have to be able to accept that before we can move on and take action. Then, maybe you can join or donate to Amnesty International or one of these other human rights organizations.

What are your thoughts? How can we work to create a world with less hate?

Required to be Thin: Discrimination in the Name of “Health”

December 4, 2009

Lincoln University in Pennsylvania has added a new, unusual requirement for its students. In order to graduate from the academic institution, students must either have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of below 30 or they must take an additional fitness class which is not required by the student body’s thinner population. This extra course could increase time (and thus money) spent at the University for obese students.

And beyond that, the BMI isn’t even an accurate tool for measuring health or fitness practices. Some people eat very unhealthily and don’t exercise often, but have a fast metabolism, and thus would have a low BMI because the BMI only takes into account two variables–weight and height. The BMI does not take into account muscle mass, which makes me wonder, will student athletes be subject to the new ruling? After a quick look at their football roster, I have found multiple players with a BMI over 30. Furthermore, the school attacks those who are obese, and subjugates them to different treatment than those who are thin, but fails to address fitness problems such as eating disorders, yo-yo dieting, or over-exercising–all of which are unhealthy, yet are problems that may exist within bodies that “look healthy.”

Basically, I find the whole thing very unsettling. What do you think? Discuss.

Some celebrities and their BMIs. Looks like Sylvester Stallone would have to take an extra course if he went to Lincoln.